The Pale Lagers of The United States

Lager out sells ale in the United States by a huge amount and many of the lagers that are sold there can be found in bars all over the world. Budweiser Beer, Coors and Miller are the lagers that stand out on the world stage but in a country that prides itself on the quality of its lager, there are many other producers that have been brewing lagers to a very high standard.

Oldest brewery in the states

The oldest brewer in the United States is the D.G. Yuengling and Sons which has been producing beer since 1829. Currently it is the largest American owned brewer in the States alongside the Boston Brewing company, selling 2.8 million barrels annually. David Yuengling arrived from Wuerttemberg in Germany in 1828 and settled in the mining town of Pottsville Pennsylvania. The natural soft water was ideal for the son of a brewer to set up the Eagle brewery in 1829. After the original brewery was burned down in 1831 it moved to a new location where it is found today. The Eagle brewery changed its name in 1873 to D.G. Yuengling and Sons, after his son Frederick joined the company. The lager was produced as a result of the training that David had been given at his father’s brewery and the flagship beer is still brewed and sold today. It now has 2 Pennsylvania breweries plus one in Tampa to try and satisfy the nation’s demand.


The Boston Brewing Company is a much newer brewery being established in 1984 by Rhonda Kallman and Jim Koch. Jim Koch’s ancestors used to brew beer, and he used his own family recipe for “Louis Koch Lager” brewing it in his own kitchen. He then invested 100,000 dollars of his own money to start the company with other money being donated from family members and work colleagues. From the start they named the beer the Samuel Adams Boston Lager. It was introduced in 1985 and six weeks later it was awarded the “Best Beer in America” at the Great American Beer Festival. The company started by renting facilities at the Pittsburg Brewing Company and would rent more facilities from other companies. It eventually was able to purchase its own property in Jamaica Plain, Boston and also in Cincinnati, which was vital in its move from being reliant on contract brewing. Today over 1300 hundred workers are employed by the company which went public in 1995. Today as well as the Sam Adams still being a great success, the brewery has diversified into producing cider.


There are many small-scale breweries who successfully produce lager in the United States. One such company is Jack’s Abby in Eastern Massachusetts which concentrate solely on lagers. Its “Leisure Time Lager” is produced by mixing the wheat malt with lemongrass, chamomile, coriander, and orange peel. The result is a crispy, fruity and spicy lager, and it is becoming increasingly popular with local markets. Just as popular but in the California region is the Firestone Walker Pivo Pils. The lager is produced from Saphir hops which gives a taste the lager of the hops as well as a minty tang. This type of taste is usually found more in ales than in lagers. Lager production in the United States benefited from the early brewing experimentation of the German brewers. With many Germans migrating to the States in the 19th century, their brewing ideas soon followed. The United States happily adopted these ideas and today produces some of the best lagers in the world.